India arrests over 100 in manhunt for Sikh separatist

Published March 20, 2023
Police and security personnel stand guard in the village Jallupur Khera about 45 km from Amritsar on March 19, 2023. - A manhunt for a radical Sikh preacher in India entered its second day on March 19, after authorities shut mobile internet in the whole of Punjab state and arrested 78 of his supporters. — AFP
Police and security personnel stand guard in the village Jallupur Khera about 45 km from Amritsar on March 19, 2023. - A manhunt for a radical Sikh preacher in India entered its second day on March 19, after authorities shut mobile internet in the whole of Punjab state and arrested 78 of his supporters. — AFP

NEW DELHI: A manhunt for a radical Sikh preacher in India entered its second day on Sunday, after authorities arrested 112 of his supporters and shut mobile internet across the Punjab state.

Amritpal Singh rose to prominence in recent months demanding the creation of Khalistan, a separate Sikh homeland, and with his inter­pretation of Sik­hism at rallies in rural pockets of the northern state of some 30 million people.

  .The photo shows Amritpal Singh — Instagram
.The photo shows Amritpal Singh — Instagram

Last month Singh, 30, and his supporters allegedly armed with swords, knives and guns raided a police station after one of his aides was arrested for a suspected assault and attempted kidnapping.

After the operation began on Saturday, Pun­jab police tweeted late in the day that 112 had been arrested in the “mega crackdown”.

But Singh himself was not thought to be among them.

On Sunday, there was a major police presence across Punjab, especially around Singh’s village of Jallupur Khera, local media reported.

The police said its “manhunt” was ongoing and the overall “situation is under control, citizens (are) requested to not believe in rumours”.

Local media reports said the Punjab government ordered the mobile internet shutdown to be in place until Monday noon.

Authorities frequently shut down mobile internet services, particularly in India-held Kashmir.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2023

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